Cryptocurrencies seem to be of interest not only to retailers, but also to big companies. The largest companies in the world are already involved in cryptocurrencies or could soon enter the industry.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the list of top 10 companies in terms of market capitalization has changed, with different ratings popping up with different data. Based on the latest 2021 rankings from Global Finance, the top 10 companies by market cap are Apple ($2.40 trillion), Microsoft ($2.14 trillion), Saudi Aramco ($1.86 trillion), Alphabet (1.860 trillion), Amazon ($1.68 trillion), Facebook ($992 billion), Tesla ($703 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($636 billion), Taiwan Semiconductor ($606 billion) and Tencent ($592 billion).
In China, the country's largest companies, including Tencent, Pinduoduo, ByteDance, Netease and others, saw their sales plummet after Communist Party cracked down on the industry. Tencent's Pony Ma and Pinduoduo's Colin Huang lost $12 billion and $15.6 billion respectively after the government cracked down on tech companies. Thus, the list of the largest companies by market capitalization in 2021 is dominated by American companies.
Interest in cryptocurrencies is growing every year. Initially, institutions were interested in altcoins, but now many are putting their money into crypto, especially Bitcoin. Bitcoin hit $50,000 this week after several months before falling slightly, according to CoinIdol, a world blockchain news outlet. The whales also come from a range of sectors, including banking, technology, automotive and finance. Nearly all of the world's largest companies by market cap are either interested in investing in and accepting cryptocurrencies, or intend to do so.
Although Apple currently accepts Bitcoin after adding Coinbase's new debit card to its payment options, which allows customers to spend their cryptocurrencies in exchange for Apple products, there have been rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of Bitcoin. Alternatively, Apple customers can now use their BitPay Prepaid Mastercard at Apple Pay, which means they can spend their cryptocurrencies via Apple Pay. MicroStrategy's Micheal Saylor, said in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this year that Apple was interested in buying bitcoin, although the company itself made no public comment.
Microsoft is one of the early crypto adopters. In 2014, a time when the world knew little about cryptocurrencies, Microsoft was already accepting them for the purchase of games and other digital content in its Windows and Xbox stores. It's unclear when Microsoft will publicly move to invest in cryptocurrencies.
After investing $5 million in Vakt, a blockchain-based oil trading company, the cryptocurrency community was excited that the world's largest oil company would be investing directly in cryptocurrencies, and rumors spread that Aramco had bought some bitcoin, which then turned out to be false. Nonetheless, as it goes, "no smoke without fire." It could be that the company has been secretly investing in cryptocurrencies. Even then, the speed at which institutions are gaining interest in cryptos is fascinating and Aramco will eventually follow suit.
Alphabet, one of America's largest multinational conglomerates, has long invested in blockchain technology, the platform on which cryptocurrencies run. While it does not buy cryptocurrencies directly, the technology it creates for banks is often used to process cryptocurrency transactions. Alphabet's subsidiary, Google, currently accepts cryptocurrencies through Google Pay. Google Pay users can now add Coinbase Cards to their accounts and spend cryptocurrencies.
Amazon, the world's largest e-commerce company, does not currently accept cryptocurrencies, but it might only be a matter of time. In July, it hired a product manager for digital currencies and blockchain whose description included the phrase, "look at how Amazon's customers pay," something the crypto community believed was a step forward for Amazon to officially begin accepting cryptocurrencies. An analysis by Forbes also agrees that Amazon's adoption of crypto payments is inevitable.
There is no official record of Facebook's purchase of cryptocurrencies with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, likes to carry on an intrigue. Back in May, he revealed that he was owning Bitcoin. However, he was not talking about cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is the name of his pet goat.
The community was wondering what Zuckerberg wanted to say with this move. Was he showing support for the flagship crypto? Or was it just a joke?
Still, the company's interest in the industry is obvious. Facebook did a significant job developing its own digital currency, originally called Libra and now called Diem. There is no doubt that the world's largest social media company will openly start putting money into independent digital currencies like bitcoin.
Back in February, Tesla announced that it had purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin before Elon Musk halted bitcoin transactions at the California automaker, citing environmental concerns. However, Elon Musk came out again to say that Tesla could resume bitcoin transactions soon. The company not only accepts payments in cryptocurrencies, but also buys and sells (invests) in cryptocurrencies. Its CEO, Elon Musk, is currently championing Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that was originally created as a joke. Today, DOGE boasts a large market cap of $36.87 billion thanks to Elon Musk, the head of Tesla.
Although Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway says he "does not like Bitcoin'' and considers it an "unproductive" asset, it has been alleged that the billionaire investor secretly put his money into SafeMoon, a cryptocurrency that was launched in March 2021. As analysts say, this drove SafeMoon's market cap to $4.1 billion as of June 1.
Berkshire Hathaway has also invested $500 million in Brazilian digital bank Nubank, which offers crypto and other investment services to its customers. It's only a matter of time before Buffet openly expresses interest in cryptocurrencies.
Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) is the world's largest chipmaker and a major crypto mining partner whose revenue is driven in part by demand for crypto mining equipment. In April, the company announced it would invest $100 billion more to meet growing demand for semiconductors. There is no record of the company directly buying or selling cryptocurrencies, but it is certainly an important part of the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Tencent Holdings Ltd is one of China's largest tech companies with total revenue of $73.56 billion in 2020, and its WeChat platform has more than one billion active users. Tencent created its own digital token, QQ Coin in the early 2000s, right before Facebook entered the market. Today, Tencent invests mainly in blockchain technologies rather than trading cryptocurrencies. In April, the company announced a new $70 billion investment in blockchain, the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrencies are growing at an unprecedented pace and have attracted the attention of major companies. Of the top 10 largest companies in the world, almost all have a direct or indirect interest in cryptocurrencies. It is only a matter of time before institutional investors also express their interest in crypto assets.